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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.89
Liaison Nicholas Kordesch
Submission Date Feb. 15, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

San Francisco State University
PA-9: Sustainable Investment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.98 / 4.00 Rachelle Caterson
Student Assistant
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 1 (positive sustainability investment)?:

Total value of the investment pool:
51,200,000 US/Canadian $

Value of holdings in each of the following categories:
Value of Holdings
Sustainable industries (e.g. renewable energy or sustainable forestry) 500,000 US/Canadian $
Businesses selected for exemplary sustainability performance (e.g. using criteria specified in a sustainable investment policy) 0 US/Canadian $
Sustainability investment funds (e.g. a renewable energy or impact investment fund) 3,500,000 US/Canadian $
Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or the equivalent 0 US/Canadian $
Socially responsible mutual funds with positive screens (or the equivalent) 1,000,000 US/Canadian $
Green revolving loan funds that are funded from the endowment 0 US/Canadian $

A brief description of the companies, funds, and/or institutions referenced above:

SF State's has set aside a $5 million Green Fund from its endowment. The fund is allocated in the following investments:
Fixed Income: Breckinridge Sustainable Taxable Fixed Income SMA 30%
Equity: Parametric KLD 400 SMA (w/ MSCI Fossil Fuel Reserves Screen) 10%
Equity: Parametric MSCO ACWI Ex-US ESG Index SMA (w/ MSCI Fossil Fuel Reserves Screen) 10%
Equity: Profit Large Cap Growth SMA (No Fossil Fuels) 10%
Equity: Trillium Large Cap Core SMA (No Fossil Fuels) 10%
Equity: Calvert International Equity Fund (Commingled/No Fossil Fuels) 10%
Equity: Calvert Emerging Markets Fund (Commingled/No Fossil Fuels) 5%
Equity: Calvert International Opportunities (SMID) Fund (Commingled/No Fossil Fuels) 5%
Alternatives: Calvert Global Water Fund (Commingled/No Fossil Fuels) 10%

Percentage of the institution's investment pool in positive sustainability investments:

Does the institution wish to pursue Option 2 (investor engagement)?:

Does the institution have a publicly available sustainable investment policy?:

A copy of the sustainable investment policy:

The sustainable investment policy:

The California State University as a system became a signatory to the Global Investor Statement on Climate Change. Consistent with our fiduciary responsibilities, this statement includes a broad range of commitments to address climate risks and opportunities. The statement may be found here: http://www.iigcc.org/publications/publication/2014-global-investor-statement-on-climate-change.

SF State is currently in the process of updating its investment policy and will include its sustainability when published. This is the current "Social Responsibility Policy and Prohibited Investments."

In its efforts to address social responsibility investing issues, the Foundation shall be guided by two basic but interdependent principles:

The Foundation shall exercise responsible financial stewardship over its financial resources and
The Foundation shall exercise ethical and social stewardship in its investment policy.
The SF State Foundation is sensitive to the issue of social responsibility when making investment decisions. The Foundation Board continues to monitor and take into account a wide variety of information to help it in determining what it considers to be socially responsible investments. In carrying out its socially responsible investment policy, the Board will continue to give specific instructions to its investment managers about investing or not investing in particular products, companies, and countries. In accordance with this policy:

The Foundation will not invest knowingly in countries or companies whose governing regimes are deemed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors to deny civil or human rights.
The Foundation will not directly invest in stocks of tobacco companies although it may hold some tobacco stocks in commingled funds.

Does the institution use its sustainable investment policy to select and guide investment managers?:

A brief description of how the policy is applied, including recent examples:

The policy has been used it to determine what holdings to invest in. The policy also allows for frequent reviews and votes that help determine what investments are made and what actions to take. Examples of actions influenced by the policy:
-Divestment from coal and tar sands holdings in 2013
-Establishment of $5 million Green Fund
-Resolution to update the policy to include initiatives including aiming for a lower carbon footprint
-Decision to pursue full fossil fuel divestment

Has the institution engaged in proxy voting, either by its CIR or other committee or through the use of guidelines, to promote sustainability during the previous three years?:

A copy of the proxy voting guidelines or proxy record:

A brief description of how managers are adhering to proxy voting guidelines:

Has the institution filed or co-filed one or more shareholder resolutions that address sustainability or submitted one or more letters about social or environmental responsibility to a company in which it holds investments during the previous three years?:

Examples of how the institution has engaged with corporations in its portfolio about sustainability issues during the previous three years:

Does the institution have a publicly available investment policy with negative screens?:

A brief description of the negative screens and how they have been implemented:

The Foundation will not invest knowingly in countries or companies whose governing regimes are deemed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors to deny civil or human rights.
The Foundation will not directly invest in stocks of tobacco companies although it may hold some tobacco stocks in commingled funds.
The Foundation will not engage in investments in companies with significant exposure to production or use of coal and tar sands.
The Foundation has passed a resolution to divest from all significant fossil fuel holdings and the effort is in progress.

Approximate percentage of the endowment that the negative screens apply to:

Does the institution engage in policy advocacy by participating in investor networks and/or engage in inter-organizational collaborations to share best practices?:

A brief description of the investor networks and/or collaborations:

SF State's Foundation Board shares its knowledge and experience in socially responsible investing with its network in a number of venues. Foundation board members have presented about SF State's divestment and socially responsible investing practices via:
Intentional Endowments Network conference (hosted August 2016) http://sfsufdn.sfsu.edu/content/intentionally-designed-endowment-forum-san-francisco-state-university
California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (hosted July 2015) https://chesc.org/wp-content/uploads/KingTues4.15Theatre_000.pdf
Association of Governing Boards conference
California State University Auxiliary Organization Association

SF State has also shared its knowledge via authored articles:
"Striking a Balance: Why (and How) We're Strategically Divesting From Fossil Fuels" by Leslie Wong and Robert Nava http://www.acenet.edu/the-presidency/columns-and-features/Pages/Striking-a-Balance.aspx

"Socially Responsible Investing: Lessons from the Field" by John Gumas and Robert Nava http://agb.org/trusteeship/2014/7/socially-responsible-investing-lessons-field

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

From interview of Venesia Thompson-Ramsay Foundation Secretary and Treasurer Chief of Operations, University Advancement, SF State. 9/16/16

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.